Indeed, Android is a great operating system. That’s why it’s the most popular and widely used. But despite all that, it’s not perfect. Just like any other operating system, it has several problems, especially on older devices and phones with modest hardware.
Picture this: you’re watching your favorite movie, playing your favorite game, or scrolling through your social media feed, and all of a sudden, your phone freezes. You try tapping or swiping the screen, and still nothing. The app, the operating system, and the phone just froze out of nowhere. As if their soul has gone out of the blue.
Now, usually, this isn’t a big deal since you can just close the app and restart it, and things should be fine. But this doesn’t always work. In that case, you might be tempted to go to the app’s settings and force-stop the app. But should you? Is it the right way to get rid of apps and services that are behaving awkwardly on your Android phone? Let’s find out.
When Is It Okay to Force Stop an App on Your Android Phone?
In most cases, when you try to force stop an app, the confirmation prompt usually includes a warning saying, “If you force stop an app, it may misbehave.” This is ironic since you Force Stop an app in the first place because it is misbehaving, and the operating system isn’t doing anything positive about it.
But how does an app behave during normal activity? Normally, when everything is working the way it is supposed to, an app will jump from one activity to the next as you use it. And when you’re done using it and close it, the operating system removes it from RAM because it’s no longer needed.
However, some apps can stay running in the background even after closing them, like whether or WhatsApp, and come to the foreground above all apps when prompted. But if something goes wrong, the app can misbehave, lag, freeze, completely crash, constantly restart, or any combination of these predictable scenarios of not responding normally. In such a case, you may have no other choice but to force stop that app because it closes and removes all the currently running processes of this app from the memory. This renders the app unable to access its cache files. Since the app can no longer interact with the resources on your device in any way, it stops reacting. This is exactly what happens when you force stop unresponsive apps.
Will I Lose Data If I Force Stop an App?
The short answer to this question is “yes”. Mostly, force-stopping apps is the only way to get rid of freezing and unresponsiveness. But you might want to reconsider before you press that button. If you’re doing something important, you will likely lose your unsaved data in the app. For instance, let’s say you’re playing a game and the app starts crashing. You hit the Force Stop button and kill the app. In that case, the game progress you made just before you close the app may lose, and you may have to replay this stage from its beginning because it couldn’t be saved to the app directory or cache files.
So, in the end, before you make your decision to force-stop apps, try to slow down and wait for a while. Sometimes, graphic-intensive games need some time to respond normally, especially if you play them on a mid-range phone or phones with old and modest hardware. To avoid this, waiting for a few minutes can prevent you from losing what you scored in the game or repeating that stage from scratch.